Burnt Basque Cheesecake is a rustic cheesecake baked to caramelized perfection. This crustless cheesecake is simple to make, yet sure to impress everyone at the table.
Desserts that are dressed to impress and take very little effort are a lifesaver! If you aren’t a baker or are just short on time, here are a few recipes that will wow your guests. They’ll never know how little work you put into this Frozen Peanut Butter Cake or these elegant Baked Cinnamon Apples. Both are a great way to end a dinner party or family gathering.
Burnt Basque Cheesecake
Bakers and non-bakers unite! A Burnt Basque Cheesecake is the epitome of rustic elegance. The simple cheesy batter is silky smooth and whips up in no time. However, it’s the high baking temperature that gives this dessert its rustic, burnt appearance and intense caramel flavour.
The outside looks burnt but is only highly caramelized, while the inside remains soft and creamy. This contrast between flavours and textures is what makes this cheesecake so irresistible.
It’s no mystery that caramelization equals flavour and wow, this dessert has bags of it! The creamy soft interior is sharply contrasted by sweet, yet toasty (verging on bitter) exterior. Since this cheesecake is crustless (there’s no graham crumbs here!), the structure of this Basque beauty is entirely due to the caramelized crust that forms on the sides.
Furthermore, this cheesecake recipe only contains 1/2 cup flour. Replace it with the same amount of gluten free flour substitute and this dessert is entirely gluten free.
What is a Burnt Basque Cheesecake?
A Burnt Basque Cheesecake, or Torta de Queso, is a crustless baked cheesecake that hails from San Sebastián Spain, in the Basque region (hence the name). More specifically, it was invented by La Viña restaurant chef/owner Santiago Rivera Jiménez in the 1990’s.
This small bar is now very famous to both locals and tourists, serving slice after slice of cheesecake, usually accompanied by a small glass of sherry. On average, they bake over 100 cakes per day!
Thankfully, chef Santiago Rivera Jiménez generously shares his famous recipe and encourages eager bakers to adjust it according to their own preferences. Like chef, I highly encourage you to adjust this recipe to make it your own.
- Cream Cheese
- Heavy Cream
- Vanilla Extract
Simple ingredients like full fat cream cheese and heavy cream (at least 36 % mf) make this dessert decadent. They are irreplaceable, meaning do not try to use light cream cheese or light cream.
As mentioned previously, you can substitute gluten free flour for the all purpose flour to make this dessert entirely gluten free.
The original recipe did not contain salt or vanilla extract, however I love how these flavourings enhance both the creamy cheese and caramelized outer crust of the cake.
How to Make a Burnt Basque Cheesecake
Aside from proper baking, the most important step when making this dessert is a silky smooth cream cheese batter. There should be absolutely no lumps or air bubbles in the batter before you pour it in the baking pan.
The first step to achieving a smooth batter is using room temperature ingredients, especially the cream cheese. In fact, don’t be afraid to soften it further for a few seconds in the microwave if your kitchen is a bit chilly. An easy way to warm fridge temperature eggs is to place them in a bowl of hot water for 5 minutes.
Mix the Cheesecake Batter
Preheat oven to 400 F. Grease the bottom and sides of a 10 inch springform pan and line the entire pan with two sheets of parchment paper. Then, grease the parchment paper like you did with the pan.
In the mixing bowl of a stand mixer fitted with paddle attachment, combine softened cream cheese and sugar. Beat them together on medium low speed, about 30 seconds or until smooth. Add one egg at a time to cream cheese mixture and mix until everything is incorporated, about 1 minute.
Next, add heavy cream, salt and vanilla extract to the bowl. Continue mixing on low speed until the mixture is smooth. Scrape down the sides of the bowl with the spatula couple of times during the mixing process. Do not overmix.
Finally, add sifted flour and mix just until everything is incorporated. Do not overmix. The batter should be smooth and silky but not contain any incorporated air. If there are lumps, strain the batter through a mesh strainer.
Baking the Cheesecake
Pour batter into the prepared pan and use spatula or back of a spoon to smooth out the top, if necessary. Tap the pan a few times on the counter to ensure there are no air bubbles.
Bake cheesecake at 400 F for 45 to 50 minutes. It is done when the top becomes dark golden brown or dark brown and it still wobbles when shaken gently. If you find that the top is darkening too quickly, gently place a sheet of aluminium foil over top.
Remove from the oven and place on a cooling rack. Let cheesecake cool to room temp before releasing from the pan. Gently coax the cake from the parchment paper and serve.
How to Serve a Basque Cheesecake
Traditionally, a Basque Burnt Cheesecake is served at room temperature without any toppings other than a side of Spanish sherry. However, you are free to add any toppings you desire. A light drizzle of salted caramel sauce or chocolate sauce might be nice, as would macerated blueberries or strawberries.
Recipe Tips and Tricks
- Use only full fat cream cheese and heavy whipping cream.
- Use a springform pan with high sides and a removable bottom.
- Double line the pan with parchment paper and grease it well with butter.
- Ensure the batter is silky smooth with no lumps or air bubbles.
- Allow the top of the cheesecake to darken while baking but cover with aluminum foil if it darkens too quickly.
- The cake should still be a bit wobbly when you remove it from the oven.
- Unlike other cheesecakes, this one is removed from the oven to cool at room temperature.
- Serve Burnt Basque Cheesecake at room temperature for the best flavour.
How to Store Leftovers
Unless you are serving a large group of dessert eaters, you will have leftovers (hooray!). This cake will keep in the fridge for up to four days. Place a sheet of plastic wrap on the exposed cut areas and cover it well.
This dessert also freezes well. My father in law likes to wrap each slice individually and thaw one out whenever the craving hits him (which is often!). Allow the slice to thaw overnight in the fridge then on the counter until it reaches room temperature.
If you make this Burnt Basque Cheesecake recipe, please be sure to leave a comment and/or give this recipe a rating! Be sure to follow me on Facebook and Pinterest for my latest recipes. Also, if you do make this recipe please, tag me on Instagram, I’d love to see what you guys are making! Thank you so much for reading my blog.
- 3 blocks cream cheese; room temperature
- 5-6 large eggs; room temperature
- 1 1/2 cups sugar
- 2 1/2 cups heavy cream (36%)
- 1/2 cup flour; sifted
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- butter for greasing the pan
- Preheat oven to 400 F. Grease the bottom and sides of a 10 in springform pan and line the entire pan with parchment paper. Then, grease the parchment paper like you did with the pan. Lastly, cut another large piece of parchment and line the pan a second time.
- In a mixing bowl of a stand mixer fitted with paddle attachment, combine softened
cream cheese and sugar. Beat on medium low speed, about 30 seconds or until smooth.
- Add one egg at a time to cream cheese mixture and mix until everything is incorporated, about 1 minute.
- Next, add heavy cream, salt and vanilla extract to the bowl. Continue mixing on low speed until the mixture is smooth. Scrape down the sides of the bowl with the spatula couple of times during the mixing process. Do not overmix.
- Finally, add sifted flour and mix just until everything is incorporated. Do not overmix. The batter should be smooth and silky but not contain any incorporated air. If there are lumps, strain the batter through a mesh strainer.
- Pour batter into the prepared pan and use spatula or back of a spoon to smooth out the top if necessary.
- Bake at 400 F for 45 to 50 minutes. The cheesecake is done with the top becomes dark golden brown or dark brown* and the cake still moves when you gently shake it. *If you find that the top is darkening too quickly, gently place a sheet of aluminium foil over top.
- Remove cheesecake from the oven and place on a cooling rack. Allow to cool to room temperature before releasing from the pan. Gently coax the cake from the parchment paper and serve.
*If you find that the top is darkening too quickly, gently place a sheet of aluminium foil over top.
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 426Total Fat: 29gSaturated Fat: 17gTrans Fat: 1gUnsaturated Fat: 9gCholesterol: 191mgSodium: 212mgCarbohydrates: 37gFiber: 0gSugar: 32gProtein: 7g
Nutritional calculation was provided by Nutritionix and is an estimation only. For special diets or medical issues please use your preferred calculator.